On a wonderful week in June, six volunteers –including three of PAWV’s very own AmeriCorps —drove up Hopkins Mountain to help restore a CCC-built firemen’s residence. What was once a nice cabin for forest firemen tending the fire tower lookout, had now become dilapidated and wrecked by vandals. The roof was beginning to leak and the door and shutters had been torn off and used as firewood. Even though this structure was small, a typical restoration job would cost close to $30,000. This is where HistoriCorps comes in. HistoriCorps is “the workforce for saving places.” They use a very small hired professional staff that teaches and supervises a volunteer crew to cut the cost of the project by well over two-thirds.
Volunteers and staff camp, eat, and live on-site for the week. The permanent staff are located at a project site for three weeks and train new volunteer teams each week. We worked the second week, which means we both helped remove rotted, broken, and dilapidated parts of the building as well as started to restore and replace other parts. I personally measured, cut, stained, and sealed a patch for an old stove-pipe hole. My other tasks included scraping, sanding, and priming rafters and other woodwork. I cleaned out the gutter and removed rusty nails from the roof. I helped get the old window hardware in working order again. I learned how to use every tool from a belt sander to a table saw as well as learned small tricks like removing rust and polishing hardware with lemon juice and salt. I highly recommend HistoriCorps projects for anyone interested in hands-on building restoration with a group of like-minded people in great outdoor settings.
HistoriCorps is a national initiative engaging volunteer workforces in historic preservation projects on public and publicly accessible lands. HistoriCorps is based in the Rocky Mountain region and from there is able to coordinate and instruct projects throughout the United States. Volunteers and students work with trades specialists including logworkers, masons, window restorers, roofers, and solar energy technicians to preserve historic resources on and near public lands. We optimize teaching and learning opportunities for volunteer work crews. Over the course of a weekend, week or summer volunteers have the opportunity to gain many valuable trades skills that they can apply to their personal and professional lives.
There is no fee to participate in a HistoriCorps project. However, travel to a project is the responsibility of the volunteer. PAWV sponsored all the travel for the 3 AmeriCorps participants. We rely on memberships and donations to pay for these travel costs. If you are interested in donating to PAWV, you can do so HERE through our PayPal page.